An Egyptian student has died in police custody in Cairo, triggering allegations that he was tortured to death.
Mohamed Ramadan Yehia, who was a law student at the Ain Shams University, died late on Sunday inside a Cairo police station, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Monday.
Aswat Masriya, an affiliate of Reuters news agency, quoted an unnamed security source as saying that Yehia died of breathing difficulties.
However, his family and a group of university students who have been staging protests in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and are known as the “Students Against the coup” movement, claim that Yehia was tortured to death.
Yehia was arrested 12 days ago for taking photos of security personnel combing the area outside Ain Shams University for a bomb that was claimed to have been planted there. He was among four students accused of planting IEDs outside an underground station.
Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised a decree seen to broaden the jurisdiction of military tribunals on civilians.
In a statement issued on Monday, the human rights watchdog said the decree, issued by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on October 27 “places all ‘public and vital facilities’ under military jurisdiction for the next two years and directs state prosecutors to refer any crimes at those places to their military counterparts, paving the way for further military trials of civilians.”
Egypt’s military courts are believed to have tried more than 11,000 civilians since the 2011 uprising that unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
“This law represents another nail in the coffin of justice in Egypt,” Middle East and North Africa’s director at HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in the statement.
“Its absurdly broad provisions mean that many more civilians who engage in protests can now expect to face trial before uniformed judges subject to the orders of their military superiors.”